70 in-calf heifers bought by Greenfield trial farm
Around 70 in-calf heifers have been bought in recent days to restock the dairy herd at the Greenfield dairy research farm in Kilkenny.
The heifers, which are due to calf down in February and March, were bought to replace 50 cows which were culled from the farm herd due to fertility and physical problems.
Some 35 of the 50 cows were culled due to fertility issues, while the remaining 15 were culled for lameness, somatic cell count and other physical problems.
Padraig French, head of Teagasc's dairy production research department, said the cull rate was lower than the national average and lower than expected for 2010 since this was the first year of production at the facility.
"We culled 20pc of the cows in total, and around 14pc of them for fertility issues," he explained.
"That is lower than the national average of 23-24pc and lower than we had budgeted for in the first year. We had budgeted for around 27pc," he said.
The cull cows were sold for €500/hd to a farmer who bought all 50 to milk on and get in calf in early 2011.
The 70 new in-calf heifers were bought from another individual farmer for €1,200/hd. However, the cost to the Greenfield farm is likely to be higher, when veterinary testing, transport and vaccinations are factored in.